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“ which was made unto the fathers, God hath ful"filled the same unto us, their children, in that " he hath raised up Jesus again," Acts. xiii. 32, 33. God the Father, mindful of his covenant, and jealous of his honour, behoved, in this respect, to do even as he had said.
But he raised or brought up the Man Christ likeways, because, in justice and equity, he was obliged to do it. If a creditor, upon full payment being exhibit, must, in justice, and of necessity, accordding to law, subscribe and deliver a writ of liberation and discharge ; fhall God, the righteous Judge, be supposed capable of less equity, respecting the sinlefs cautioner and furety of sinners? There is something to this effect, peculiarly striking, in a passage quoted before: “Whom God hath raised
up, (lays the apostle, speaking of Jesus Chrift)
having loosed the pains of death.” Mark what follows, “ Because it was not possible, that he “ should be holden of it,” Acts ii. 24. It would have been such an act of tyranny and injustice, that it is impossible, without the grofseft blafphemy, to imagine Jehovah the Father capable of it.
The salvation of the soul must be very different from men's common estimate of it. It is precious in itself, and appears exceedingly so in the price of it, as paid down by Jesus Christ. Had not God the Father seen a preciousness in the finner's redemption, it is not to be imagined, he would, by the substitution of his Son in the sinner's room, have made fuch early and colly provision for it : and if our Lord Jesus had not judged the redemption of the soul precious, it is impossible to think, he would have laid himself under such weighty obli
gations, gations, and subjected himself to such excruciating anguish and pain. The value of things amongst men is often judged of, from the importance of the price by which they are obtained; and as to particular commodities, their only value lies in the dearth of their purchase. Would we judge of the redemption of the foul by this rule, it will, on a double account, appear valuable, excecding valuable and precious. It is not filver or gold that could procure it: its price is far above the price of rubies. Thousands of rams, and ten thousand rivers of oil, fall infinitely short of the lowest rate at which it could be bought. Nay, my brethren, the fruit of the finner's body could, by no means, atone for the sin of the foul, far less pay for the redemption of it. The price you have seen : the awful sum has been told over in your presence, amounting to nothing less than the blood of bulls and goats? no, the precious blood of the Son of God. Nor does the value of redemption ly merely, in the price paid for it; but also, in the need, the absolute, indispensible need all stand in of it: all, whether high or low, rich or poor, bond or free, must be interested in that falvation, to which our Lord's sufferings had a respect ; must be interested in it, or must inevitably perish. Could we be inftrumental in persuading men of the preciousness of falvation, one considerable end of our ministry would be reached ; but how far men's usual preference to the things of time and sense argues an undervaluing their fouls, it is easy to judge. Such need to consider, that in flighting your soul's redemption, you flight both the Purchaser and the price, both the contriver and the executor of it; which, if mercy prevent not, will expose you to the most awful reproof at the judgment of the great day.
The evil, the exceeding evil of fin, is likewise evident, as what nothing less could expiate, than our Lord's precious life. The eternal Father, who weighs perlons and things in an even balance, could not do less to his bofom Friend, his everlasting Fellow, his constant delight, when set in the gap, than “ bruise him and put him to shame;" to such open shame and sufferings, as he underwent in the horrible pit and miry clay. Sure, if the exceeding finfulness of fin had not made it necessary, such a Father would never have made fuch exaction upon fuch a Son. And therefore, in making a sport of fin, men practically mock the fuffering Saviour; in the pursuit and perpetration of fin, men make mersy with that, which filled him with sorrow, even unto death. Nor can believers themselves survey their hearts and ways, without feeling, or having reason to feel, the most tender and affecting etno. tions. Your lying, my brethren, your fabbathbreaking, your uncleanness, your covetousness, your immorality and ungodliness in your unconverted days; together with such unbelief, unwatchfulness, unfruitfulness and backslidings from God, as, since grace took hold of you, you are chargeable with, dashed the head of Christ with wrath, when in the pit; and bore him down, till he funk, died and was buried in the mire. Sin is evil in itself, unspeaka. bly fo, in the dishonour it does to the Lord God; but its evil nature appears most awfully in the scars on the Saviour's hands and feet; and in the remarkable (car on his sacred side; the indelible proofs of what sin cost him, and the dreadful evidence of what it shall coft fingers themselves, who live and die without an interest in him. If, while in the pit of humiliation, it drew wrath on his head, who had no fin of his own ; can it fail of breaking the fluices of divine wrath, respecting finners themselves,
in the pit of nature now, and in the pit of hell hereafter? Yea finners, though you roll this and the other sin, as a sweet morfel, under your tongues at present, it shall draw down whole foods of ven geance, upon you, foul and body, hereafter ; under the load whereof you shall be pressed, crushed, tormented, and distracted through eternity.
But it is good news, that our Lord, was by the Father, taken up out of the horrible pit and miry clay, or, in the language of the New Testament, that he was raised from the dead. It is good news to faints. Primitive Christians are said, particularly glorying in the resurrection of Christ, to have frequently comforted themselves and one another with these words, Sirs, Christ is rifen. No matter, my dear friends, though the grave-ftone should be put on every other enjoyment and comfort; comparatively, that is of fmall confequence to you, since your Lord is risen ; and, with him, your life, your hope, your liberty, your all. Befides, in his refurrection, there is full evidence of the work of your redemption being completed, and the most comfortable carnest of your own resurrection taking place, with glorious advantage, at the last day. As the resurrection of Christ is good news to faints, fo, it is pregnant with falvation to sinners; because in it they have the furelt ground of hope to look to, and build upon. It is unquestionably certain, that, resting upon this foundation, you mall never be Temoved. Had our Lord been detained a prisoner in the grave, then you could have had no hope ; had not thele bands been loofed, your bands could Dever have been broken ; but now, that he could not be holden of them, there is a solid bottom upon which you may build and warrantably venture for eternity. Be exhorted therefore to look to him, that you may be faved; and to wait for him, that ye may not be ashamed: for in neglect of this ground of hope, you dishonour and despise the Saviour, and lay in a foundation for his despising, and pouring contempt upon you. Think of these awful, awakening words, and pray that the Lord may write them, as with a pen of iron and the point of a diamond, upon your consciences : they are applicable to all the defpiters of Christ, and neglecters of the great falvation. “Whofoever shall “ fall on this stone shall be broken ; but on whom*" foever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder,'? Matth. xxi. 44.
Of the Father's setting Christ's feet upon a rock.
HE fame nature that was humbled, is exalted,
The Man Christ was in the horrible pit and miry clay, and it is only as man he can be said to be set on a rock. To fuppofe him capable of exaltation in his divine nature, would no less argue againft the perfection of his divinity, and be an error no less subversive of his glory, than if, as God, he had been supposed to suffer. In his divine nature, he was, from eternity past, fo perfect and glorious, that, though eternity to come, it is impossible he can ever in any degree, be more so. Though, when the compliment of a ransomed world is fully made up, he will have still a greater number of admirers and adorers; yet, even then, there will be nothing in the Redeemer's Godhead to admire and adore, which had not place, ere